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Who introduced cacao to Sri Lanka?

Cacao in Sri Lanka

On 2 June 1603, Dutch admiral Joris van Spilbergen stood before King Vimaladharmasuriya I of Kandy. Van Spilbergen had just arrived after a 12-months journey that brought him from Veere, in the Netherlands to Kandy. Apparently, the admiral made a good impression, because the two immediately developed a close friendship.

The King even became curious about the Dutch language of his new friend and decided to learn it. Little did they know that their friendship would start one of the two routes through which cacao would reach Asia: the Dutch cacao route.

In fact, there were two separate cacao introductions to Asia: the Dutch and the Spanish cacao route. The first brought cacao from Venezuela, the second from Mexico.

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